Senator Jim Molan: "Australia must strengthen its defense capacity to prepare for an "extraordinary threat"
(See Translation in Arabic Section)
Canberra - M E Times Int'l: Liberal Senator and retired army major general Jim Molan says a “regional war” involving Australia is a very real possibility in the “next couple of years”.
Mr Molan said Australia has not since World War Two faced the type of dangers that it does over the coming years.
But the Liberal Senator said there was a great deal of complacency to shore up the country’s defence capabilities among the Australian population and the political class.
“There’s a deep feeling in Australia that the United States' power is infinite,” he told Sky News Australia.
“The Americans keep on running war games because they know since the end of the Cold War their military power has decreased by 30-50 per cent.
“They run war games and they find that they don’t win.”
Mr Molan said if a scenario involving a Chinese invasion of Taiwan emerged, the United States’ military community would suggest the superpower could “go in and get defeated" or choose not to come to the island nation's aid.
“Either of those are a disaster for this country (Australia),” he said.
The retired major general said the imminent threat had to serve as motivation for the Australian government to invest further into the country’s defence budget.
“We’ve decided the size of our defence force not based on any need, not based on what it has to do, but based on what each successive government thinks they can afford,” he said.
“There are four things that we can do; We’ve got to keep doing what the good ministers are doing at the moment - that is they’re fixing legacy problems.
“We’ve got to come up with a national strategy which goes across every part of the nation including defence. We’ve got to start spending money on defence in relation to what the strategic environment demands not what’s left over.
“We’ve got to prepare very seriously for enhanced grey zone (conflict). If people think what China is doing to us - which a lot of people call grey zone conflict - is the worst it can get, well it can get a lot worse.”
Mr Molan’s warnings come only months after the then- Head of the US Indo-Pacific Command Admiral Philip Davidson spoke about China’s hastening military expansion.
“I worry that they’re (China) accelerating their ambitions to supplant the United States and our leadership role in the rules based international order which they’ve long said they want to do that by 2050,” Admiral Davidson said in March.
“I’m worried about them moving that target closer. Taiwan is clearly one of their ambitions before that and I think that threat is manifesting this decade, in fact in the next six years.”
Unvaccinated told not to ‘assume’ they will get freedoms as NSW reports 1257 new cases, Victoria cases hit record high
Sydney: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said those who haven’t received the jab may not enjoy extra freedoms even when the state hits 80 per cent double vaccination.
NSW is now at 46.2 per cent double vaccination rates, with restrictions to ease significantly for vaccinated residents at 70 per cent.
Ms Berejiklian warned those who choose not to get the jab “not to expect to do everything that vaccinated people do even when we hit 80 per cent”.
It comes as NSW confirmed 1257 new Covid-19 cases and seven deaths while Victoria recorded 473 new locally acquired cases, the highest increase in infections the state has seen in this outbreak.
She said those who haven’t received the jab may not enjoy extra freedoms even when the state hits 80 per cent double vaccination.
Ms Berejiklian said unvaccinated people could still be living with tough restrictions even when 80 per cent double vaccination milestone is reached.
“Our key message is – come forward and get vaccinated because once we start opening up at 70 per cent double-dose vaccination, the higher the rate of adult coverage, of people 16 and over, that are vaccinated, the better it is for all of us.”
Ms Berejiklian said it was everyone’s choice whether to get vaccinated but warned those who choose not to get the jab “not to expect to do everything that vaccinated people do even when we hit 80 per cent”.
Meanwhile, a room found in almost every workplace could be fuelling Victoria’s latest outbreak, health authorities have warned. Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimar warned authorised workers to be careful about who they came into contact with at tea rooms in their workplace.
He said it was one of the “most dangerous” spots for the spread of the virus.
$10m funding for groups helping the needy during NSW pandemic
Sydney: Applications have opened for grassroots organisations to share in a $10 million funding package to support vulnerable people and multicultural communities during the COVID-19 outbreak.
NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Natalie Ward said the program would support non-government organisations (NGOs) to link those in need with support services, including family and parenting supports, food and essential items, and counselling to address issues such as mental health, drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence.
The grants program, which is part of the NSW Government’s $18.8 million emergency relief package, will target those needing urgent help in Sydney’s 12 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of concern.
Eligible organisations who already provide proven support services to vulnerable people in the 12 LGAs of concern will be invited by the Department of Communities and Justice to participate in the program.
Australia secures extra million doses of Moderna vaccine in boost for community pharmacy program
Canberra: The Australian Government has secured an extra one million doses of the Moderna vaccine doses from European Union member states to further bolster Australia’s vaccination program.
The extra doses, along with the first shipment of already contracted doses, will arrive within the next week and go directly to local community pharmacies across the country.
This comes while the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is recommending Moderna for everyone 12 years and older. In line with approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), everyone aged 12-59, including families, can access these doses from their pharmacy.
The doses were sourced by the Federal Government from surplus vaccines destined for Spain, Czech Republic, Portugal and Bulgaria.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the extra supplies of Modena represented hope.
“This additional supply also enables us to direct urgent supplies where they are needed most, and make up the final ground for everyone in Australia to be offered a jab, originally set back in January for in October.
“In October we’re going to have enough vaccines in the country to have offered everyone a jab meaning we’ll be able to take the next steps in our plan to safely reopen Australia.
“These additional Moderna doses build on four million Pfizer doses sourced from the United Kingdom, one million from Poland and 500,000 from Singapore.”
Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said Australia’s network of diplomats had worked around the clock in securing agreements such as this.
“This agreement further demonstrates the important role our diplomats play and the strength of Australia’s bonds with European nations and the European Union,” Minister Payne said.
Minister for Health Greg Hunt said local pharmacies would begin to receive Moderna doses within a fortnight.
Victoria Covid Trends Continues for the Worst At Berejiklian Final Press Conference
Sydney: The Victorian Covid could be higher than the NSW outbreak after the southern state reached a three-day rolling average of 369 cases on September 11 – the 62nd day since the first case in the community.
An epidemiologist has outlined a worrying trend which shows the Victorian Covid outbreak is actually growing faster than NSWs despite the fact that infections are lower in Victoria compared to NSW at the same stage of the pandemic,
“Sydney always took a more of a nutcracker approach, but that didn’t work when it came to Delta,” epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett said.
“We (Victoria) came in with a sledgehammer, but that still didn’t work,” she adds.
Meanwhile seven deaths were announced today in NSW in its last daily press conference which has faced wide criticism but Premier Gladys Berejiklian the move.
“The next two months will be the most challenging our state has seen perhaps ever. And I need to make sure we are not only making decisions for the next day but for the next week and next month and it‘s really important to make sure all of government is prepared for what the next few months bring us and I will still be a regular feature at 11am but not every day… I need to make sure the government runs, gets back to its usual processes as quickly as possible, just as the community will start to reopen, the government has to get used to not running in crisis,” she said.
Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant also said, “I am still hoping that we peak [this week]. But to some extent, those projections depend on how effectively we can control the spread outside the local government areas of concern.”
Meanwhile, the premier has urged Sydneysiders to follow social distancing rules after people flooded beaches in the Eastern Suburbs.
Timely boost for mental health services for women and youth in NSW
Sydney: Pregnant women and new mothers experiencing mental illness will soon have access to specialist care alongside their babies at NSW’s second Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) at Westmead Hospital.
Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the purpose-built eight-bed unit will be based at Redbank House within Westmead Hospital, increasing support for NSW mothers who require care in a hospital for perinatal mental illness.
“This new mother and baby unit at Westmead Hospital will enable up to 120 women each year to receive specialist multi-disciplinary mental health care during the crucial early bonding period, without needing to be separated from their babies,” she said.
The new unit offers integrated mental health care with access to maternity, obstetric, paediatric and other medical services. It has been co-designed with women with a lived experience of mental illness, their families and clinicians to meet the needs of women using the service and create a family-friendly environment for partners and siblings.
Meanwhile, young people across NSW will have access to expanded digital mental health support thanks to a $1.5m investment from the NSW Government.
The Moderated Online Social Therapy (MOST) platform, designed by youth mental health organisation Orygen, will be embedded in eight eligible youth mental health services across NSW from now until June 30, 2022.
The MOST platform can be accessed 24/7 from devices like mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers.
Initially trialled in Victoria, access to MOST was rapidly expanded last year as part of the Victorian Government’s COVID-19 community support response.
Orygen Executive Director Professor Patrick McGorry said “MOST is changing the way we provide mental health services by connecting digital mental health technology with clinical services to address gaps in existing care models, provide on-demand support and sustain real life recovery for young people.”
Albanese hits back at Keneally criticism
Canberra: Labor leader Anthony Albanese has hit back at criticism of the Labor Party’s decision to parachute Kristina Keneally into the Western Sydney seat of Fowler, saying the party has a “diverse background of people”.
Labor MP Anne Aly has criticised the move as a “huge failure” and “hypocrisy”, as Ms Keneally will potentially push out local lawyer Tu Le to take the spot in the culturally diverse seat.
Mr Albanese said people “have their views, but the fact is – Anne Aly is part of our caucus.
“Kristina has chosen to nominate, put herself forward to go to the lower house …She wants to participate as a lower house member.”
Mr Albanese insisted the Labor Party has a “very diverse” caucus compared to the Liberal Party.
Sydney beaches ‘as busy as Australia Day’
Sydney: NSW has reported 1599 local Covid-19 cases and, sadly, eight deaths in the hours up to 8pm last night.
Victoria has reported 450 new cases of community transmission, only 75 of which are linked to known outbreaks. Queensland reported five new cases, all family members of a 13-year-old Brisbane student.
There has also been one new case in South Australia, in a mine worker who flew into the state from Sydney yesterday.
It comes as large parts of regional and rural NSW left lockdown, with a long list of freedoms now afforded to people in areas that haven’t seen a new Covid-19 case in 14 days.
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Social media users have lamented the “unbelievable” scenes at Sydney’s beaches, where thousands have flocked – despite record case numbers – to soak up the sun.
Asked earlier today whether he was worried about large crowds taking advantage of the warm weather and heading to the beach this weekend, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said his greater concern was for unvaccinated people.
“I think that the fresh air, we know that it is the safest place to be at the present time,” Mr Hazzard told reporters.
“But I would say to people who are out and about to maintain your social distance and to just be careful … Generally people have been really, really good. I know the media will have photos today of people out and about … but I think generally that’s a very safe place to be.”
One beachgoer at Bronte said it was “as busy as Australia Day”.